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DU30 offers Muslim self-rule thru BBL to counter IS


President Duterte yesterday offered self-rule to the Muslim minority in an attempt to defeat Islamist militants who seized a southern city in the gravest challenge to his year-old rule.
Duterte hopes the promise of autonomy will persuade Filipino Muslims to reject the Islamic State group, whose followers still control parts of Marawi after nearly two months of fighting that had left more than 500 people dead.
Duterte vowed to shepherd through Congress a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) bill jointly written and submitted to him Monday by government officials and the country’s largest Muslim guerrilla group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“This moment is a significant step forward in our quest to end centuries of hatred, mistrust and injustice that cost and affected the lives of millions of Filipinos,” he said in a speech to MILF leaders and government officials.
“These misguided people have filled the vacuum created by our failure to enact the basic law, and feed into the frustration of our people,” MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim told the same gathering, referring to the Marawi gunmen.
The MILF signed a peace treaty with Duterte’s predecessor Nonoy Aquino in 2014 but Congress refused to pass the self-rule bill — a key provision of the accord.
Small rebel factions began pledging allegiance to the IS soon afterwards. The Marawi attack on May 23 was their first major action, forcing Duterte to impose martial rule across Mindanao.
The chief government peace negotiator, Irene Santiago, said Manila expects the bill’s passage within a year.
“The next 12 months are full of opportunity but also fraught with so much danger. The dangers are staring us in the face: violent extremism, the source of the crisis in Marawi,” Santiago added.
The MILF said the new draft of the proposed BBL has greater chances of becoming a law once it is certified as an urgent bill by President Duterte.
Drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), composed of government and MILF representatives, the draft enabling law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed in 2014 by the government and the MILF, was submitted to the President yesterday evening in Malacaٌang.
Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs, said in an interview that “all systems go for the submission of draft bill.”
Jaafar will also hand over the new 112-page, 18 articles draft BBL to Senate President Aquilino Koko Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, one after the other.
Jaafar has visibly shown how excited he was and his panel. “Truth is that we are anticipating for endorsements when the President makes his speech during the BBL turnover today,” he added. AFP and PNA


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